22nd October 07:38 AM
There is an urgent need for tsunami warning sirens in Suva City, Queen Elizabeth Drive and Walu Bay
By Vijay Narayan and Lena Reece
Thursday 12/10/2017
Tsunami siren in Laucala Bay

There is an urgent need to have tsunami warning sirens in Suva City, along Queen Elizabeth Drive and Walu Bay if we want thousands of people in these areas to be tsunami ready.

This is evident as many people along Queen Elizabeth Drive and Walu Bay could not hear the tsunami sirens from Lami Town and USP during the live test this morning. Suva City does not have a siren.

Fijivillage was on the ground and also spoke to other contacts who confirmed that they could not hear the Lami siren at the Royal Suva Yacht Club while others could not hear the USP siren past My Suva Park Police Post going towards Veiuto Primary School and Suva Grammar School.

When asked by Fijivillage on the highly populated areas not hearing the sirens, National Disaster and Management Office Director Anare Leweniqila says the reason for the exercise is to test the range of the sirens and to install sirens in the new areas.

When we asked when sirens will be installed in these areas, Leweniqila says this will happen within weeks.

It was earlier revealed in a National Disaster Preparedness meeting that plans are now in place to have fully functional tsunami warning sirens in various parts of the greater Suva area by the end of this year.

The current assessment for national disaster preparedness is clear that more tsunami warning systems are needed for people living along coastal areas in the country.

There will be 5 new sirens in the Suva Municipal Area in addition to the two tsunami warning sirens located at lower USP campus and in Lami Town.

The proposed sites for the new sirens are Rifle Range Road, Naboro Waste Disposal Plant, Suva City Centre, Old Parliament House in Veiuto and Walu Bay.

We have also asked the NDMO about the plans for other coastal areas including the Coral Coast, Nadi, Lautoka, Labasa, Savusavu and other areas.

There is confirmation that future plans have been put in place for Tsunami Warning Systems in other large population areas around Fiji.

This will be prioritized on population density with Nadi to be the next location for construction after Suva.

They will then put sirens in Lautoka and Labasa.

Meanwhile, some people in Lami and the Laucala Bay area had no idea what was happening when the tsunami warning sirens were tested at around 10 o’clock this morning.

The siren located at Nasevou Street in Lami was tested a few times in short intervals while the siren located at USP was switched on for a long period of time.

Fijivillage spoke to people around the area.

Some people knew what it was, some thought it was an annoying sound, some thought it was an ambulance while others wanted to know where it came from and what it’s for.

The live test of tsunami sirens in Laucala Bay and Lami Town was conducted by the National Disaster Management Office between 10 and 10.30 this morning.

Permanent Secretary for Disaster Management Meleti Bainimarama says the exercise is part of on‑going work to improve tsunami early warning systems and to increase knowledge and understanding of tsunami risks.

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